This time of year, I bummed to be talking about Christmas train rides before Halloween, but this year, I’m sad to say the holiday trains aren’t running in 2020, except for ONE that I know of.
Here is the update on a few holiday train rides for families who like to plan ahead and a few for those who are happier to keep it low-key and local.
Bay Area Christmas Train Activities in 2020
If you and your children are dying to ride the rails, the Roaring Camp Railroad and the Niles Canyon Railway are making autumnal train rides happen (wear a festive red hat or pajamas, who’s gonna stop you?) but both lines have cancelled their annual holiday runs.
Bay Area Christmas Trains
Magical Christmas Train, West Sacramento
Yippee! While not exactly in the Bay Area, this is a special one-hour visit with the big man, Santa Claus, and his trusty elves on a railroad in a train car. You’ll get some sweet treats and have a pretty good time. Read all about the Magical Christmas Train and book your tickets today.
When: The one-hour Magical Christmas Train is offered four times each day on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays beginning on Nov. 27 through Dec. 20 and then Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of Christmas week.
Price: Adults 13+: $55 | Kids age 3 to 12: $45 | Kids 2 and under: $10
Holiday train rides in the Bay Area that are presumed cancelled
The following train rides might still surprise us all with a late-breaking announcement that the holiday railroad is running, and we’ll update you as soon as we hear. Sign up for their respective email lists to be the first to know!
Holiday tree walk and train ride, Felton
While others of the Roaring Camp Railroad holiday trains are outright cancelled, this one is still called TBD. Status here.
Winterfest at Tilden Park Steam Trains
The Tilden Park steam trains have not resumed operations since closing in March, 2020 and are closed until further notice. No new information available.
Santa Train, Napa Valley
All mention of the Santa Train has been removed from the Napa Wine Train website since August, 2020 but they are running other routes. Website >
Train Ride at the Oakland Zoo, Oakland
All rides at Adventure Landing including the train are not operating for regular hours or the holiday lights celebration (formerly ZooLights, this year Glowfari).
Bay Area Christmas train rides cancelled for 2020
We have confirmation from Santa Claus and all the elves that they will NOT be visiting the following wonderfully lit-up train cars for holiday 2020. They hope to see you in 2021.
- Chanukah Train, Santa Cruz
- Santa Cruz Holiday Lights Train, Santa Cruz
- Polar Express at California Railroad Museum, Sacramento
Find more holiday adventures in our East Bay Christmas Activity Guide when the season is right.
[Photos as indicated]